March 2014

The formation of the IMB search committee

March 28 2014 by David Uth, chairman of the IMB board of trustees

(EDITOR’S NOTE – The following letter is a response to Tom Womble’s submission to the Biblical Recorder. See the link at bottom to read Womble’s opinion piece).

Dear Tom:

You have posed an understandable question about the makeup of the search committee for the next International Mission Board (IMB) president. Let me review the process I used to name this group.

In seeking counsel to form this group, I had to use great discretion in how to choose the right committee members but not reveal the purpose of my inquiries because Dr. Elliff had not yet made a public announcement. That led me to ask the trustees, “If I were to put together a team of folks to think about what the future of IMB looks like, who would you recommend?” This process is about the future. As I kept these names recommended by fellow trustees on my desk, I called their names to the Lord and felt His guidance in selecting the committee. In looking at those who would be asked to serve, I looked at geography but also looked for diversity in age, vocation and gender. You no doubt have noticed that 12 states are represented in the 15-member group, but the priority was not geography. It was who, in the eyes of their fellow trustees, would be best suited to find God’s leader for IMB’s future. 

I’m not sure to what extent the following criteria might relate to the states you feel were under-represented, but I shared with the board when the selection was announced that those who served on the last search committee, those rotating off the board and those newly elected to the board were not considered. In any event, the ultimate decision for a new leader will be the decision of the entire board, not just the search committee. 

All trustees, in fact all Southern Baptists, are encouraged to recommend individuals for this role. You can do so by emailing

I believe that God will honor this group as they lead in the search for the next IMB president. We do covet your prayer support for this very important task.
David Uth
Chairman, IMB trustees

Related Opinion Article

Tom Womble, “IMB search committee lacks N.C. member”
3/28/2014 12:36:35 PM by David Uth, chairman of the IMB board of trustees | with 0 comments

IMB search committee lacks N.C. member

March 25 2014 by Tom Womble, Fuquay-Varina, N.C.

It is with disappointment we note the short tenure of International Mission Board (IMB) President Tom Elliff. My most serious concern recognizing his imminent departure is the make-up of the search committee to find his successor.
On receipt of an IMB letter sent to former board members and missionaries, my attention was quickly drawn to the fact that there is not a member from North Carolina on the search committee. Even more troubling is that there are none from Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia or any other east coast state north of Florida. It is interesting that Texas has three members. Missouri has two on the committee.
Mapping the location of each committee member quickly shows where the influence of appointments was generated. On my last check the states that were omitted are among the leaders in Lottie Moon and other sources of mission support. Chairman David Uth indicated he appointed the committee after consultation with trusted leaders and prayer. You would think that N.C. and other “old line states” would have had at least one qualified individual recommended that he felt worthy.
There may be a legitimate reason for avoiding these states and selecting each individual, but somehow as a life-long N.C. Baptist who has long supported missions as a pastor and convention employee, it appears totally illogical.
I would hope that Chairman Uth could share any insight that might help to explain his failure to recognize the states where IMB support is highly generated. Without explanation it cannot help but raise questions regarding motivation and intent. Our prayers for missionaries must continue and never cease no matter what his answer might be!

Tom Womble
3/25/2014 11:11:54 AM by Tom Womble, Fuquay-Varina, N.C. | with 0 comments